There was a real carnival atmosphere on Castle Green today, in broad sunshine: tents, food, circus skills, zumba display and more on the other side of the river at Bishop’s Meadow.
As we all gathered under the Cathedral’s tower, by the West Door, Sam, Carrol from Presteigne Pacers and I found ourselves at the very front. The Junior Mayor was facing us, nervously brandishing a pair of scissors in our direction, ready to ceremoniously cut the blue ribbon, and the Mayor of Hereford was manfully filling in time with a speech, before the bells rang.
We simultaneously realised a couple of urgent facts: the Junior mayor would need to move fast or impale us as he got trampled, & we would have to move fast, or the 130-odd runners standing behind were sure to trample us! No worries – he got moved so his back was to us and his face could be seen in the papers (and so the scissors were pointing the other way) and I ran so fast to Castle Green I still can’t walk up stairs (no kidding!) Still – it was a real novelty to see and be seen for once, if quite daunting.
The race left Castle Green and followed the grassy riverbank to the new footbridge, over some rough, unfinished ground and back to the riverbank again. I discovered I’m small enough to duck under the fences where the dogs avoid the stiles, and overtook a couple of runners that way. The ‘bannisters’ on the bridge are really good to catapult you round the corners as well, if you grab them with one hand and swing round. Cunning running! Then we swung onto the new cycleway. This is a brand-new path through a post-construction landscape, in beautiful black concrete – and the heat blasted up from it like an oven. I was grateful to see the bridge again and we cut back across the meadow to the residential area. I was fighting to keep Jo Lord behind me and not sure I could make it! The “5 miles” had turned out to be a 5.5 and I was struggling. We came back in the way we came out and the marshalls were doing the best they could to clear the crowds when they saw us coming. The bells were ringing out their peal as I approached, so I just about beat them. And Jo!
I was delighted with my time on my current form and while I’d prefer to run it much slower on a hot day (and really enjoy it!) it would be great to do it again! Highly recommended, and plenty for the family to do while they wait.
Results: Mark Lamonby was first Croft Runner home in second place in 33.24, beaten by Daniel King of Wye Valley in 32.37. Next Croft runner was Sam M in 35.15 (9th), Martin in 36.02 (11th), Ben 37.22 (18th), Rob 38.49 (23), Sam H in 44.02 (10th lady, 67 overall) – and Rachel 21st lady in 48.48
Photos from the gallery – thanks Mike!